Body image is a strange thing. I mean, we're all so different. No two people alike. Well, I guess they are, if you're a twin or something. But the rest of the world? We are all different.
As little girls we grow up seeing out mothers and their shape and how they view their bodies. Are they thin or thick, tall or short, round or flat? Do they mention their frame and their shape? Do they just naturally live in their frame? Do they constantly diet? Or eat whatever and seem to make no mention? Our idea of body image is first instilled by those closest to us.
As a child I remember my Mom being...perfect. Not too tall, not too short, not big or thin. My Aunt was thin, but always dieting. I don't remember the particular diet, but I remember a constant conversation on dieting. The thing is, I remember wanting to be like my aunt. Mostly, only because she wasn't my Mom, and the grass is always greener on the other side.
I've said before, but I have a few particular memories about body image. I believe I was 11, the summer after 5th grade. I had been wearing a bra for about a year and started my period. My sister, our neighborhood friends and I were playing outside. We all had swimsuits on with some shorts and t shirts on over it. A neighbor was airing out his camper trailer and said we could hang out in it. We little girls giggled and talked and as we got hot, we took off our shirts and shorts. Only I wasn't "little". Even though I was 11 and about the same age as the other girls, I had developed hips and breasts and in my swimsuit I must have appeared more teen/woman, than child. The neighbor came in to make sure we were ok and mentioned me and my suit in some manner, but no one else. I was instantly embarrassed, aware of something being "wrong" and as he left, I put my shorts and shirt back on. I instantly felt different from the other girls and my first instinct was to attempt to blend back in and become invisible. This would shape my body image for years and years to come.
The one that I've talked about before was being with my aunt and a friend of hers in the yard. We were sitting on a blanket and the friend was asking about me. At the time I was about 12, tall for my age at 5'7" and thin. Her friend said something to the effect that it was awesome that I was so tall because I could gain weight and it wouldn't show because of my height. I was 12. And I think that's one of the interactions that would also shape my image for years to come.
My body image is horrible, I'll be the first to admit it. When I was gaining weight in college and afterwards, I remember thinking to myself "I'm not that bad." What does that even mean? That I'm fat, but it's ok? That I'm not really fat, just big boned/large? That I'm thin, but just different than other women? That I'm just average, but bigger? At this point, I don't even know. It seems silly and dumb when I think about it, but at the time it made sense.
I bit of me, a tiny voice in my head, is struggling again. And I have to say that even though this surgery and the flap procedure fit my life best, I almost changed my mind. Why? I was concerned about my body image. Only not what you would think; not about my breasts. I was/am concerned about my hips/butt. I have this incredibly flat tummy right now from surgery. I have these beautiful breasts that are in place and not saggy from weight loss. But my hips and tummy? They're still the same. Large.
It's a shame really. I go through this incredible weight loss than changes my life and my body. I start coming to grips with my body image and how it's changed, but livable and beautiful in it's own right. Then this new life changing thing happens. And again I have to figure out not only what my body image is, but how to successfully live with it. It's never ending, this body image thing.
Try this: What's your body look like to you?
Tell me, how close were you to your actual body shape? What's your body image?